Junior college transfer DeAndre McNeal isn’t concerned with how long it will take him to learn Kendal Briles’ offense.
He’s already familiar with the Baylor spread. It’s one of the major reasons he elected to play at FAU.
McNeal began his career at Texas playing under offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, a former graduate assistant under Kendal’s father Art Briles at Houston.
Gilbert brought the Baylor offense to Texas in 2015 and even though McNeal and Gilbert were only together for one season, McNeal insists he’s ready to play immediately.
That’s exactly what the Owls need. FAU indefinitely suspended and barred from campus last season’s leading wide receiver Kalib Woods last month after his arrest on two counts of felony battery.
McNeal says he can play either outside receiver or slot, but expects to begin on the outside.
He caught 42 passes for 640 yards and six touchdowns last season at Fullerton College.
OWLACCESS.COM PRE-CAMP DEPTH CHART
DeAndre McNeal, 6-3, 215, Jr. McNeal slides into the spot vacated by Woods. His role on the Owls is far from set in stone. McNeal spent this week finishing a course he needed to qualify academically and isn’t expected to arrive in Boca Raton until next week.
Pico Harrison, 6-3, 190, R-So. Caught 18 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown last season, but without an 85-yard TD catch-and-run off a deflected pass his statistics wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive. Will need to show improvement to avoid being passed by one or more of the newcomers.
Nate Terry, 6-6, 220, Sr. Terry has caught 36 passes for 482 yards and seven touchdowns during his career. Moved from tight end to slot receiver last season. This spring moved from the slot to the outside.
Henry Bussey, 5-9, 180, Sr. Bussey tied Terry for the FAU lead in touchdown receptions last year with two. He had a decent spring, but only gets the top spot if Kamrin Solomon isn’t ready to go. If the Owls go with a four wide receiver, no tight end set, Bussey is one of those receivers.
D’Anfernee McGriff, 6-1, 235, So. The JUCO transfer originally signed with Florida but didn’t qualify academically, so he headed to prep school before attending Iowa Western Community College. His body type screams defensive end, but McGriff has shown the speed to get behind the secondary in summer workouts.
Kamrin Solomon, 6-2, 205, Sr. Solomon was the offensive MVP during the spring, but sources tell OwlAccess.com that FAU is considering taking disciplinary action against the senior for his alleged role in the altercation that led the arrest of fellow wide receiver Kalib Woods on felony battery charges. Several sources identified Solomon as the second shirtless fighter in the surveillance video from the altercation. If no action is taken, Solomon climbs back to the top of this list.
John Mitchell, 6-2, 210, So. Mitchell received his first taste of college football last season as a true freshman, catching six passes, including one TD. He lined up with the first team for the spring game.
Bobby Mitchell, 6-2, 190, R-Jr. One of the Owls fastest wide receivers, Mitchell grew into a different player this spring while working in Briles’ offense. A similar growth spurt in fall camp should lead to a productive season.
Kalib Woods – Heading into his redshirt senior year Woods seemed primed to emerge as an All-Conference caliber player and a potential NFL prospect. Instead, he’s battling felony charges in conjunction with a fight at an off-campus banquet hall and has likely played his last down at FAU.
Antonio Hadden – Calling Hadden a “key loss” is a bit of a stretch because he never saw the field for FAU, but the previous coaching staff had high hopes for him. Hadden transferred during the summer to Illinois St.
Willie Wright, 5-8, 155, Fr. Teammates have raved about how good Wright has looked during summer workouts. Wright scored 22 touchdowns in high school.
Ronald Patterson, 6-2, 185, Fr. The walk-on received recruiting interest from ACC schools before ultimately signing with MTSU. Patterson never reported to the Blue Raiders, heading to prep school instead. He’s impressed Owl teammates during summer workouts.
Denzel Houston, 6-0, 185, Fr. The Orlando Sentinel named Houston its Central Florida Offensive Player of the Year for 2016. He accounted for more than 6000 yards and 80 touchdowns during a high school career in which he primarily played quarterback. Houston is officially listed as an athlete, but he will most certainly get a look at receiver.
Jordan Merrell, 5-9, 195, Fr. How much playing time the Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas product receives this season may well depend on how many of the incoming signees currently listed as “athlete” ultimately find a home at wide receiver. Merrell could well be looking at a redshirt year.
PREVIOUS POSITION PRIMERS
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Quarterbacks
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Offensive Line
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Running Backs
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Tight Ends
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Wide Receivers
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Defensive Line
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Linebackers
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Defensive Backs
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Special Teams